Madrid is the only capital in the world with its own designation of origin. It was established in 1990. Although it's supposed that wine making in Madrid was introduced by the Romans or even before, there aren't any documents to prove this practice in the area until the 13th century. Madrid was in the way of many of the trading roads that crossed the Peninsula and Madrid wines soon became one of the important economic motors in the area. The 15th century arrived and Madrid wines were quite known all around Spain and Europe, and often praised by Spanish authors like the Archpriest of Hita. Madrid wines became so popular that nearby wineries started to produce and sell fakes, and in the second half of the 15th century, the municipal authorities had to establish some protective laws to ban this practice.
The Golden Age (between the 16th-17th centuries) was very beneficial time for these wines. The capital was moved from Toledo to Madrid, and this incremented the demand and production of Madrid wines. In 1665, there were 63 wine makers in Madrid. They were subjected to rigorous controls as to how many grapes were produced, how much grape juice was extracted and the final count of wine liters produced per year. Most of the vineyards in Madrid were located in the outskirts of the city, but several were still inside the city and they would remain until well into the 20th century. Navalcarnero produced particularly good wines, valued all over Spain.
The first phylloxera bug was detected in the Madrid vineyards in 1914. The plague spread very fast and it devastated all of the vineyards that produced Madrid wines, and full recovery wasn't achieved until the 50s after the war. Most of the vineyards were replanted with the Garnacha Tintorera variety, but many of the best vineyards were swallowed up by Madrid's growth. The economic crisis of the 70s brought a dreadful fall in the consumption of wine, and soon it became apparent that to bring back the old brilliance of Madrid wines, a big remodelation of the whole wine industry was required.
1984 is marked as the year that saw the birth of the new Madrid wines under they newly recognized (but not yet officially established) DO Madrid. Beginning were, are they always are, difficult. The wine industry in Madrid was so injured that it required a lot of effort to bring it back to life, and there were only a few wineries that sold bottled wine. Then the fashion for wines bottled in origin began to spread through Spain, and it seemed the Madrid wines were regaining some of their fame.
The DO was officially approved in 1990, and the following year the first real DO Madrid wines were out on the market. The first Crianzas came in 1992. Ever since the rediscovery of Spanish wines in the international markets, Madrid wines and the rest of Spain's DOs have been brought back from the shadows for everyone to enjoy.
DO Madrid's vineyards are located south of the Madrid province, and it's divided in three sub areas, all of which produce red, white and rosé Madrid wines:
Southeast of the Madrid province, it's the biggest sub area of production and it houses almost 50% of all the vines. They are bathed by the Tajuña and Henares rivers, and affected by a markedly continental climate of extreme heat in summer an extreme cold in winter, with not much rain. The allowed grape varieties are: Garnacha, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon (red); Airen, Malvar, Parrellada, Torrontes and Macabeo (white).
This sub area is located in the south of the Madrid province, and it's the smallest of all three, housing around 14% of the plantation. The Guadarrama river crosses it through the middle. The allowed varieties are: Garnacha, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon (red); Airen, Malvar, Parrellada, and Macabeo (white). Though historically this region has always been famous for the rosé wines it produced, lately there has been a growing interest in their young red wines.
San Martin de Valdeiglesia
This sub area is located in the west of Madrid, and it houses around 35% of the plantation under DO Madrid. They are bathed by the Alberche river and surrounded by the beginnings of the Central mountain range which protects it from the cold northern winds, so the temperature here is higher all year round, as well as the levels of humidity. The rainfall here is also the highest of all the three sub areas of production.
Madrid wines can be classified in six types:
- Young wines: No aging.
- Crianza: At least 2 years of aging with a minimum of 6 months spent in wood barrel.
- Reserva: At least 36 months of aging with a minimum of 12 months in oak barrel for reds and 6 months in oak barrel for whites and rosés.
- Gran Reserva: At least 60 months of aging with a minimum of 24 months in oak barrel.
- Sobremadre wines: The special production process of this wines generates endogenic carbonic gas. It's produced by the fermentation of the must with the stemmed and crushed grapes.
- Sparkling: Produced with the traditional methods. Can be white or rosé.